Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It's The You-Know-What, Stupids! (Pt. II)

NY Times columnist Paul Krugman still hasn't responded to the email I sent him last Friday in response to his latest column (unlike me, he has better things to do with his time, I assume). However, he's clearly getting a lot of feedback regarding his anti-Obama hackery, and responded with this on his blog-
One measure of how crazy people on at least one side of the Democratic nomination struggle have become: I’ve gotten a number of complaints that the end of my last — entirely non-political — column, “hope is not a plan,” was a swipe at Obama.

Um, guys, it’s a phrase military types use; I started using it a lot when Iraq went pear-shaped. In fact, if you Google it, the first entry that comes up is a book about the Iraq war.

I’m sorry to say that a large part of the progressive movement seems to have lost its sanity.

Bold added by me... gosh, whichever side could he be referring to?

Let's take a look at some snippets from the column in question-
[P]olls — and Hillary Clinton’s big victory in Ohio — suggest that if the Democrats want to win this year, they have to focus on economic anxiety.

Some people reject that idea. They believe that this election should be another referendum on the war, and, perhaps even more important, about the way America was misled into that war. That belief is one reason many progressives fervently support Barack Obama, an early war opponent, even though his domestic platform is somewhat to the right of Mrs. Clinton’s.

....

But first, of course, the Democrats have to settle on a nominee. And the shift in electoral focus from Iraq to economic anxiety clearly plays to Mrs. Clinton’s strengths.

....

Why has Mr. Obama stumbled when it comes to economic issues? Well, on health care — which is closely tied to overall concerns about financial security — there is a clear, substantive difference between the candidates, with the Clinton plan being significantly stronger.

More broadly, I suspect that the Obama mystique — his carefully created image as a transformational, even transcendent figure — has created a backlash among those unconvinced that he’s interested in the nuts-and-bolts work of fixing things.
Ohio voters were more likely to say that Mr. Obama inspires them — but more likely to say that Mrs. Clinton has a clear plan for the country’s problems.

And Mr. Obama’s attempt to win over workers by portraying himself as a fierce critic of Nafta looked, and was, deeply insincere — an appearance particularly costly for a candidate who tries to seem above politics as usual...

Yep, this column was totally non-political. I don't know where anyone would get the impression that Mr. Krugman has been using his totally non-political columns to cheerlead for Sen. Clinton's campaign. I apologize for having asserted any such thing, for I-- like the majority of the progressive movement-- have lost my sanity.

(I'll add that it's BS to assert Clinton is better than Obama on economics as a fact; it's an opinion. They both have similar proposals, with the key differences being on how to implement them. And since a President can't implement anything without broad political appeal, it's blind to dismiss that. Krugman labeling Obama as some economic conservative also misses the memo that the Clintons are trying to portray him as an out-of-control liberal. One could also make the argument that Hillary won Ohio by scamming them on NAFTA, and by lying about what her health-care plan really is. This is not an honest debate.)

In all seriousness, he is right that this lengthy primary season is making people a little crazy. Of course, on that charge, Krugman is a tea kettle calling the pot black here. He's a great economist; he should stick to that.

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